“I wanted to reinvent myself”

Longtime menswear designer John Varvatos is reinventing himself with his eight-month-old label OTD, a unisex clothing line with stores in New York and Los Angeles.

“When I started this, it was a new story,” says Varvatos The Hollywood Reporter on the beginnings of OTD. “I really felt like I had a new story. I wanted to reinvent myself. That’s when during COVID I had this kind of flash. I had this story with which I ‘ve played, that’s what this brand is.

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OTD stands for “On This Day” and its collections feature clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories for all genders. With its flagship store located in the heart of New York’s Soho, the unisex line has found a second home in Los Angeles on West Hollywood’s iconic Sunset Strip, in the same space where H&M previously stood. This is Varvatos’ last ongoing journey to complete his business ventures. From his own label to tequila brand Villa One (which he launched with Nick Jonas), Varvatos is no longer solely focused on menswear. This summer, Varvatos and Jonas launched a pop-up tequila bar on the Las Vegas Strip to promote their Villa One brand.

As for OTD, the brand is the designer’s follow-up fashion company after his eponymous menswear line filed for bankruptcy in 2020, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around, OTD encompasses women’s, men’s and unisex styles. As the name suggests, clients are encouraged to use fashion and personal style to write their own story “in this day” – living in the moment, every day.

“Whatever the word, I don’t care,” Varavtos says of the differences between men’s and women’s clothing. “I just know that when people walk through the store, they’re just looking at clothes. They don’t usually determine if it’s a guy or girl thing. So, you know, we don’t want to impose that on them. Except for the size differences of some pieces, the designer says most of the OTD collections are “pretty fluid”.

He continues, “The unisex part is a fun part because you don’t have to explain it to people, they just get it. Girls understand, guys understand. It is part of the life of many people today in their wardrobe.

John Varvatos flagship store exterior - Credit: Courtesy of Noel Kleinman

John Varvatos flagship store exterior – Credit: Courtesy of Noel Kleinman

Courtesy of Noel Kleinman

John Varvatos flagship store interior - Credit: Courtesy of Noel Kleinman

John Varvatos flagship store interior – Credit: Courtesy of Noel Kleinman

Courtesy of Noel Kleinman

The idea for On This Day was sparked by a particular Facebook notification, in which the platform shows users memories of past posts every day over the years. In his Facebook news feed, the notification reads: “On this day”.

“I would put these things in my Facebook feed. And it would say that day, April 25, 2017,” says Varvatos. “It made me think of celebrating great moments in time. And that was what it was. Somehow their algorithms figured out that it was something special, or that being with people is something special.

With OTD, Varvatos has created an elevated brand that is always functional, designed to be dressed up or down for every individual. For women, blazers, oversized sweaters and plaid overalls take a luxurious approach to androgyny. For both men and women, stylish tracksuits paved the way for the fall collection, along with cozy knits, sweaters and coats that all fall into this “between-seasons clothing” category. There are a ton of sports-inspired pieces, from fleece sweatshirts to hockey jerseys and basketball tank tops, all designed for versatility that can be worn day or night. There is also an element of sustainability, with some garments being made with materials from recycled plastic bottles.

The celebrity creator focused on pop culture as another major influence for the essence of OTD. “You go to an NBA game today and it’s like a parade there,” he says. “When you look at who’s in the audience, who’s in the front row. Contemporary arts have also become such an important part of our culture. I wanted to be inspired by that stuff.

John Varvatos Models - Credit: Courtesy of OTD

John Varvatos Models – Credit: Courtesy of OTD

Courtesy of OTD

John Varvatos Models - Credit: Courtesy of OTD

John Varvatos Models – Credit: Courtesy of OTD

Courtesy of OTD

Going forward, Varvatos plans to open two or three more OTD stores this fall, in addition to pop-up stores in the meantime. “The pop-ups were really fun and uncomplicated,” says the New York-based designer. “Building a store takes six months. Opening a pop-up you can do in two weeks. It’s fun, you know?

But when it comes to the future, Varvatos strives to grow his business. “I’m not trying to repeat,” says the designer. “I’m really trying to do something new and inspiring for me and my team that we can be successful with, you know? At the end of the day, you want to be successful. I wish it was just for fun, but not everything can be just for fun.

OTD is located at 8580 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

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